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Bartender is one of those sweet little apps that you set up once and then essentially never really notice how magical it is ever again. The top magicians say the best magic looks completely natural, and that's how we feel about Bartender.
This is one of those apps that should be a feature of OS X itself. Once you allow software to populate the menu bar with icons, there should be decent means of management, beyond Command-clicking to drag the icons around. Once you get more than 10 or so apps running up there, your menu bar starts to look crowded, and that's when you signal for the Bartender.
Dispensing with visual clutter is what Bartender is all about. Sure, it's nice having those app icons up top where you can get to them quickly, but what about some lesser used ones? What about critical information like your battery status that just takes up too much space? Bartender has all that covered.
Once installed, Bartender opens directly to its settings screen. A pane on the left shows menubar items arranged by category: System Items (Apple's), Active Menu items (third-party), and Apps with Settings (also third-party). As you work your way down the list, the larger right side pane gives you options. For Apple's System Items, for example, you have three options: to ignore and leave the icon on the main menu bar, to move it to the "Bartender Bar," or to completely hide it. It's that second option that gives you breathing room: Bartender can stash menu bar icons you don't often in a second, floating menu bar that appears when you click the single discrete ellipses.
Bartender really flexes its muscles, however, when dealing with third-party software. The same three viewing options are available, but Bartender can also make the icon briefly appear when the application in question updates. For instance, toss a file in your Dropbox folder and when it syncs Dropbox's menubar icon will show up, for as little as 5 seconds or as long as 10 minutes. Then it goes back to wherever you had it stashed.
The bottom line. There are a few more minor features under the hood, like choosing your own Bartender icon, selecting a hotkey sequence, or deciding whether Barender hides or merely floats the Bartender Bar under the menu bar in perpetuity. But the real magic lies in how Bartender cuts back on visually stressful clutter while still keeping it all just a click away.
64-bit Mac, OS X 10.6 or later
Gives you control over menu bar icons. Simple to use and then you can forget about it.
Nothing we can think of. (More drink specials, maybe?)